Revitalized Timmins Voices Features Jessica Trudel and the Premiere of the Timmins Song by Frank Giorno

A revitalized Timmins Voices will be re-launched at Christopher’s Coffee House in Timmins on Wed. January 14, 2015 at 7:30 p.m. featuring Jessica Trudel and the recording of the “Timmins Song” (Timmins’ I’m In).

I hope you can all come out to support Jessica and to join in the recording of the Timmins Song.


Jessica Trudel is a terrific writer and champion of the spoken word as the President of Porcupine Timmins Toastmasters.

Jessica Trudel is a terrific writer and champion of the spoken word as the President of Porcupine Timmins Toastmasters.

Jessica Trudel has been writing stories, poems and essays for as long as she can remember. As a child, she wanted to do a lot of things for a living: veterinarian, architect, photographer… but she always wanted to be a writer “on the side.” It never occurred to her that she could actually ever write for a living. She freelanced as a writer and editor for 10 years before opening her own business, Cursor Communications. Now, she is a professional writer, getting paid to write for a living. It’s been an incredible journey! Now, she’s going to share with you a few of the pieces she’s written along the way.

The Timmins Song could be used for a way of rallying the Timmins community and instill pride, enthusiasm and joy in residents who periodical go through the bumps of the boom and bust cycle that is part and parcel of a natural resource based economy. In the long term the song can also be used to attract visitors to Timmins…the way “I Love New York” was for New York State and New York City.

The newly painted and squeaky clean Timmins Water Tower

The newly painted and squeaky clean Timmins Water Tower

The First Stage is to record a spontaneous and joyous version at the launching of the Timmins Song at the re-launch of Timmins Voices. I have invited Mayor Black,Charlie Angus MP and Gilles Bisson MPP, Michael Doody senior councilor and others to join in. And I am Inviting YOU. The readers of a Northern Blog to come out lend us your voices and enthusiasm to make the recording that much more powerful. I have purchased a professional quality video camera and the final product will look so much sharper with you belting out the words to the Timmins Song.

The Second Phase will be to sing the song at a Timmins Council meeting in the Council Chamber. The Third phase will be to choose a date in June or July and encourage as many people in Timmins to meet at Hollinger Park so we can do a massive recording of people of Timmins en masse singing the Timmins Song…Have a mining company loan us a plane to fly over and video tape the mass of Timminites singing the Timmins I’m In Song affectionately called the Timmins Song.

The fourth phase will be to record Timmins Born celebrities to sing the chorus including: asking Shania Twain, Frank Mahovolich, Peter Mahovolich, Steve Sullivan, Derek the comedian fellow, the CEO of Goldcorp, the Grand Chiefs, etc.
The video production will show visuals of all of the many facets that make Timmins a great place to live and work.

Please be sure to attend the re-launching of Timmins Voices on Wednesday Jan.14 2015 at 7:30 Christopher’s Coffee House 35 Pine St. S. Our special guest will be Jessica Trudel. And we will record the Timmins Song that Jeff Baldock and I co-wrote. The song will be video recorded and we want everybody to join us at the front to sing the song while it is being recorded. It will be posted on Timmins Voices facebook, Timmins Voices Youtube..and my own youtube “Giornalisti channel”.

Here are the lyrics for ‘The Timmins Song’ by Giorno/Baldock (The GeeBees). Have Happy New Year…I will be back in Timmins Jan. 2.


I added a verse dealing with the physical attributes of Timmins: Kamaskotia Hill, Kidd CReek mine, McIntyre Head frame in Schumacher, South Porcupine, the Golden Dome mine. I felt this aspect was lacking in the original lyrics which strong on the spiritual. This version is better and all encompassing. Here is the Timmins Song

The McIntyre Mine Headframe in Schumacher

The McIntyre Mine Headframe in Schumacher

The Timmins Song Timmins I’m In) (c)
by Giorno/Baldock (copyright by Giorno and Baldock -“The GeeBees”)

Timmins, I’m In,
through thick and thin….
Together we’ll win!
Timmins I’m In
Are you in Timmins!
Timmins, I’m In

Let the goodtimes begin…
Through the snow and the wind…
Though it be 30 below.
Let your warm heart glow.

Together We Win…
Timmins I’m In
Through Thick and the Thin.
Timmins I’m In.

Through the good and the bad,
From the joyous to the sad…
The race is not to the swift
Nor the battle to the strong
Though the load it is heavy
Though the road it is long

Together we win
Timmins I’m In…
Together we win..
I’m in Timmins..
Through the thick and thin.

From the Hill of Kamaskotia
To the depths of Kidd Creek Mine
From the Schumacher Head Frame
To the South Porcupine
From the shine of the golden Dome
Timmins is my home

Timmins I’m In
Are you in Timmins?
Response: Alright…yea…
Rock on Timmins…
Together, Timmins We win..
We’re in Timmins

The City with a heart of Gold.
Despite the snow and the Cold.
Together we’ll win
Timmins We’re in
Together Timmins we win

Hope you print off a copy of the Timmins Song…gather with your friends and practice at home and then Join In the Revitalized Timmins Voices to cheer on Jessica Trudel and join in the recording of the premiere of the Timmins Song.

I’m In Timmins!


Happy New Years see you all on Friday January 2, 2015

The Miracle on Third Avenue: Karina and Mits Rescue Bucovetsky’s Christmas Model by Frank Giorno

Today I was crossing Pine St. South and Second Avenue when I noticed Karina Douglas and Mits Takayesu caring a large bundle down the street each holding one end. At first I thought it was a microwave oven. But it turned out to be much more important than that.

What Karina and Mits were carrying on a cold, snowy day in Timmins was the much beloved Christmas Display Model from the Old Bucovetsky store. The present owners Tweed and Hickory are closing the store after Christmas and everything is up for sale including the three pieces that constituted the elements of its Christmas window for much of the 20th century and the first two decades of this century.

I was flabbergasted! I mean I had only a couple of days ago written about one of the grand old Christmas traditions in Timmins being a visit to see Bucovetsky’s Christmas window in a previous A Northern Blog. And here were Karina and Mits rescuing this valued piece of Timmins heritage. They were on their way to the Timmins Public Library where Karina works at the reference desk. I offered my helping hand and the three of us carried the Bucovetsky Christmas model along Second Ave. Across Spruce St. S. past the old ONR parking lot to the library where Karina and Mits quickly placed it on the display case next to the Shania Twain costume exhibit (alas another rescue job from the now closed Shania Twain Centre).

For all those in Timmins who want to continue the tradition of looking at the Bucovetsky Christmas window you can do so — at the Timmins Public Library until January 5, 2015.

Bucovetsky1But there is more, according to Karina there are still two more pieces of the old Bucovetsky Store Christmas window available. Karina informs the centre piece took 1,000 hours of loving devotion to complete by the crafts people who built it. It is priced at $600.

The third piece is also exquisitely constructed. Karina says it costs $400. The two combined would cost $1,000. Now that is a fair chunk of coin. But imagine…just imagine a true miracle. You know the one where you wake up and read in the Timmins Daily Press that some anonymous philanthropist secretly purchased the two remaining pieces of the Bucovetsky Christmas window and donated it to the Library or the museum to complete the set.

De Beers? Goldcorp? How about Lake Shore Gold who recently hired former Timmins Mayor Tom Laughren to be its Director of Corporate Responsibility. Maybe miracles do happen. For certain they do– thanks to Karina and Mits- the Miracle of Third Avenue happened. Don’t believe me? Go to the Timmins Public Library and see for yourself.

And if Karina and Mits can perform this great Christmas miracle for Timmins, just imagine what De Beers, Goldcorp and Lake Shore Gold can do – by rescuing the two other pieces of Timmins’ beloved Bucovetsky Christmas display.

Mits by the way is the principal bassoonist with the Timmins Symphony Orchestra.

Have a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year Timmins! Are You In for 2015? Timmins I’m In!

The Murder of Mario Wesley in Timmins Still Unsolved

As 2014 draws to an end, the murder of Mario Wesley in Timmins remains unsolved. Last April, I wrote one of my “A Northern Blogs” about my friend Mario Wesley titled “Mario Wesley Sculptor and Musician Battles Personal Demons.” I never posted it on A Northern Blog and only recently discovered it in my draft unpublished blogs. Mario never had a chance to defeat his demons. He was murdered on July 28, 2014. The first murder of the year in Timmins.

Five months later the Timmins Police still have not charged anyone with Mario’s murder. I understand that the Timmins Police are taking Mario’s murder seriously and have followed strands of leads all the way to Attawapiskat, where a police investigator traveled to question potential witnesses. Sources close to the Wesley family tell me Timmins police have questioned over 200 people who Mario knew and associated with…but nothing has led to the laying of criminal charges so far.

mario-wesleyShortly after Mario’s funeral, Timmins police placed posters around town of Mario playing a guitar and asked anyone with leads into Mario’s death to get in contact with them or with CrimeStopper. Officers also visited the Lord’s Kitchen, a community kitchen in the basement of the old Church of the Nativity on Spruce St. North where Mario used to meet his friends for a meal once a week.

Here is the Timmins Daily Press story reporting on Mario’s murder

As we end a very sad and empty 2014 I certainly hope that police continue to work hard on solving Mario’s murder. Mario like all of us had his demons and I believe he would have conquered them. I know his daughters want the person or persons who murdered their father apprehended and brought to trial.

Mario Wesley Sculptor and Musician Battles Personal Demons

Here is the blog I wrote in April, 2014, that I posted on my Facebook page, but didn’t add to A Northern Blog until now.

“Artists and musicians are doomed to be cast in many instances as tormented souls who see and interpret the craziness of the world for the so-called sane majority. Mario Wesley my friend originally from Moosonee would fall into this definition. A man who is beset by hosts of personal demons, some inflicted by his early years of being abused in residential school, others being caused by his alcoholism which he battles successfully for a brief period…and when he does he produces such a beautiful song such as this one…”First Love”.

Mario is also a talented sculptor, working in soapstone. I purchased one of his sculptures and donated it to the Ojibway Cree Cultural Centre where it belongs for all to see and appreciate. Now Mario is afflicted with glaucoma and is legally blind. I wish he could beat his demons and continue writing songs and sculpting. Last Time I saw him he told me he had stopped drinking. I hope to set up an Artists Table at Timmins Urban Park this summer and am encouraging Mario to focus on his sculpting. He will sell many of his works, that I am sure, although with his glaucoma getting worse it will be increasingly more difficult for Mario to sculpt.

As for music, we will have our Friday afternoon open mic at Urban Park and I hope to encourage Mario to get up and sing his songs.

Gallery Owner in Thunder Bay Liked Mario’s Sculptures

Today, I got a comment on Mario Wesley’s First Love Video which is posted on my you tube site from a gallery owner named Louise in Thunder Bay, Ontario who was searching for Mario because she liked his sculptures. Maybe we can get Mario sculpting again and perhaps Louise in Thunder Bay can be sent a few to display in her gallery…I am sure Mario could use some of the proceeds of the sales.

Here is “First Love” By Mario Wesley recorded in September 2011 by Gillies Lake…unfortunately the ending is kind of bumpy as my editing skills failed me….I hope you enjoy this nonetheless.”

The Benefits of Being Late: The Christmas Bird Count and One Degree of Separation

DSC04999Today was Christmas Bird Counting Day in Timmins. As usual I woke up too late to join the others at 7:30 a.m. so I went out around 10 a.m. and drifted to the general location where they were to be counting that was a 24 area with Highway 101-Highway 655 being the centre point. I walked to that intersection and then headed along a snow mobile trail… I counted 8 crows…more, but I think they were the same old crows circle over the President’s Choice parking lot. I then walked up a trail and ended up at the home of a local doctor where I counted 4 chickadees at his feeder…could have been more his two dogs were barking at me and scared the little chickadees…the doctor came out and was quite friendly, he got his binoculars from the house and pointed out the pine grosbeak with its splendid red and black plumage.

And the a common redpoll…. smallish pudgy bird with a red splotch under its beak settled on the same tree a couple of branches below.DSC_0010

As it turned out the doctor’s daughter launched her book of photographs about Timmins at Timmins Voices…as I always say in Timmins there is one degree of separation. My photo of the pine grosbeak is the distant one…the excellent photos of the pine grosbeak and the common red poll are photos I took of the Audubon Bird Guide. Followed by some frosty photos of Timmins. The last photo is of the freshly painted Timmins Water Tower.


Christmas in the Timmins Mining Camp: A Special Time of the Year By Frank Giorno

As in other parts of Canada,Christmas in Timmins is a special time of the year. Past Christmas traditions are fondly held as shown by the theme of this year’s Santa Claus Parade – “Memories of Christmas Past.”

Christmas in Timmins, is a time to celebrate and share in the spirit of the season with family and friends. Among the traditions that find most delightful none can compare to the gift-giving traditions that have developed over the years.

Gifts for the Children of Schumacher
One of the treasured Christmas traditions was introduced by Fred Schumacher, a travelling pharmaceutical salesman who eventually built Schumacher mines. Fred made several donations to the town which now bears his name over the years. Among these donations, the one which may be the best known part of his legacy is the $1,000 donated for presents each Christmas since 1916 for the school children of the town of Schumacher, which now is part of Timmins

The tradition continues today 98 years later. Schumacher left a trust fund for the children of Schumacher. Volunteers meet prior to Christmas at the Schumacher Volunteer Fire Department to wrap fits will be given to Schumacher school children at an event just before leaving for the Christmas holidays.

Hollinger Mine Christmas
The Hollinger Mine in Timmins started to provide Christmas hampers for mining families in the 1920s. This is a story that still has to be fully told.

In addition, Timmins service organizations like the Shriners, the Lions Club and the Rotary Club also organized fund-raising to help bring Christmas cheer to the Timmins community or to help with other charities.

The Christmas Bird Count

The Christmas Bird Count was started 114 years ago by the Audobon Society. The Timmins Naturalists introduced this Christmas event only 20 years ago but it has since become a cherished part of the festive season. Over the last 20 years there has been over 75 participants, over 400 volunteer hours spent and 45 species identified. For more information, visit .

A New Church
Christmas in 1926 was a particularly merry occasion for the parishioners of the Church of the Nativity as their new church opened on December 23, 1926. Today the Church is better known as the Father Costello Community Care Centre on Spruce St. N.

Bucovetsky’s Christmas
Bucovetsky’s was the place that Timmins shopped for Christmas gifts and ornaments. Every Christmas the store was festooned with Christmas goodies and gift ideas. Walking by and gazing at Bucovetsky’s Christmas window was a cherished Timmins tradition. Sadly, this year, Tweed and Hickory, the successor to Bucovetsky’s will close its door just before Christmas bring an end to a cherished institution and tradition.Santa2_ORIGINAL

The Santa Claus Parade
The Timmins Santa Claus Parade Committee annually draws between 12,000 to 15,000 people to the Santa Claus Parade an event held the first or second weekend in November. The parade traditionally attracts more than 50 or 60 entries each year.

Christmas from Around the World in Timmins
Being a mining town, Timmins attracted people from all over the world to work in the mines or to provide services for the communities. Many of these communities celebrated with their families in their traditional ways that they brought with them from England, Ireland, Scotland, Italy, Poland, Finland, Russia, Ukraine, and Croatia, Serbian, Germany and other locations. Often the celebrations included a service at the local church in their native language.

Here is how you say Merry Christmas in Timmins and in some cases Happy New Year too!

English – Merry Christmas & Happy New Year
French – “Joyeux Noël et Bonne Anneé”
Cree – Mino Makoshay Keyshegow and Mino Oh-ski Pay-boon
Ojibway – Minoganawaamdig Niibaanaamaang Miinwaa Nimkoodaading
Chinese – [Mandarin] – “Kung His Hsin Nien bing Chu Shen Tan”
Chinese – [Cantonese] – “Saint Dan Fai Lok”
Croatian – “Sretan Bozic i Nova Godina”
Filipino “Maligayang Pasko, Manigong Bagong Taon”
German – “Froehliche Weihnachten”
Hindi – “Shub Naya Baras”
Irish – “Nollaig Shona Dhuit”
Italian – Buon Natale e Buon Anno
Lithuanian – “Linksmu Kaledu”
Polish – “Wesolych Swiat, Bozego Narodzenia”
Portuguese – “Feliz Natal” “Boas Festas”(Good Holidays.)
Serbian – “Hristos se rodi”
Scottish Gaelic “Nollaig chridheil huibh”
Spanish – “Feliz Navidad”, “Feliz Año Nuevo”
Ukrainian – “Z Rizdvom Khrystovym!” – “Z Novym Rokom !” –

The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies: “Gold and Cold” by Frank Giorno

Sitting in the warmth of theatre 3 in the Cinema 6 complex, watching the Timmins premiere of The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies, I couldn’t help but think to myself – Timmins is the best place to watch this epic movie.

The movie opens to a massive, dragon-induced, firestorm reminiscent of the aerial bombings during World War 2. Flames of destruction everywhere. The Geneva Convention of middle-earth or its equivalent obviously had not banned such destructive weapon of mass-dragon destruction. Shortly after, the scene switches to a cavernous castle inhabited by the Dwarf-King, Thorin. The castle is knee make that hip deep in gold coins and gold treasures. With so much gold, I immediately thought of all the gold ever mined in Timmins and the Abitibi-Greenstone gold belt and imagined this is where it ended up.

Bilbo ankle deep in gold in the castle chambers

Bilbo ankle-deep in gold in the castle chambers

Gold plays such an important role in The Battle of the Five Armies –  as it does in Timmins and along the Abitibi-Greenstone Gold Belt in Northern Ontario and Quebec.

But that is not where the connection between The Battle of the Five Armies and Timmins ends. There is the cold…freezing, biting..bone chilling, cold. I thought of the walk from my apartment to the Cinema Six complex through a couple of feet of snow in -25 Celsius weather. Clear and cold…so clear I could see the Hunter up in the night sky – Orion. And now – there on the screen are the poor souls who had barely escaped the scorching hell of the fire-breathing dragon and such is luck that they would end up at the gates of Thorin’s mountain castle freezing in misery.

Gold and cold. The battle over the untold wealth of gold contained in the castle and the freezing mass of humanity outside the castle gate. Gold and cold. If someone were to name the two best words to describe the cities and towns of the Abitibi-Greenstone belt they would be “gold and cold”.

I really enjoyed the movie. Well-written, acted. The film held my interest and the fact I was watching this epic in the land of gold and cold added to the ambiance of the film. When the people at the gate were freezing I not only saw them trembling in the frigid land outside the castle gate — I felt it. When the camera panned on the endless gold…I thought of all the gold that has been mined up here only to end up vaults very similar to the gold-laden chambers of the castle or Fort Knox.

The real clincher for me was the Battle on Ice between King Thorin and the Orc commander. The two were battering each other all over  a frozen pond that reminded me of a frozen-over Pearl Lake or Gillies Lake. With each fracture of the ice’s surface, I thought of ice fishing and all the other frozen pleasures of the north.

I give this movie two mitts up! With all the gold and cold in the movie, I felt right at home.King Thorin, the Dwarf King, with a castle full of gold

King Thorin, the Dwarf King, with a castle full of gold